WW2 troops in Market Rasen


One of the more unexpected consequences of the outbreak of the war for the people of Market Rasen and District must have been the arrival of large numbers of troops in the area.

Troops parade at racecourse 2-16

Troops Parade at Market Rasen Racecourse. Courtesy of Chappell Collection, Lincoln Central Library. Courtesy of LCC

Some were billeted in the town while others were in newly built camps such as the one built at Usselby where the Royal Welch Fusiliers were based early in the war.

Market Rasen itself saw cavalry in the form of the Yorkshire Hussars based in the town in the early months. This meant that there were large numbers of horses stabled in the town, some at the pubs which still had stables in those days and large numbers, up to three hundred, in a specially constructed area on the north side of Gallamore Lane just west of Clare Lodge.

The arrival of large numbers of troops must have livened up the town.

Scots reg Band march thru Rasen 2-16

Scottish Regimental Band marching down Queen Street. Courtesy of A R Farrow

As the extracts from the Rasen Mail show, there was concern about their welfare. The townsfolk were urged to make them welcome and social activities such as football matches and dances were organized as well as the provision of various “facilities for recreation”


Any member of his majesties forces who may from time to time finding self in Market Rasen is assured of being as well catered for in the matter of recreation facilities as anywhere in Lincolnshire.

The Methodist Church in Union Street and Chapel Street have now set aside the school room, which are to be open daily from 6 to 10 PM and on Saturdays from 2 to 10 PM for the playing of games of all kinds.

WW2 Football match Ad 2-16Writing facilities are also provided and refreshments will be available at very moderate prices.

A Sunday sing song has also been arranged at the Union Street Church

From the Market Rasen Mail 18th of November 1939



Market Rasen was given a fine opportunity on Sunday afternoon of appreciating the spirit and enthusiasm of the men who are now stationed “Somewhere in Lincolnshire” when the town was filled up with khaki clad figures for a big district Church Parade.

Rasen’s central position enabled a number of units to be brought in for an inspiring service and as company after company marched down the main street headed by the regimental band, the whole town turned out to watch.

The Market Place was filled with soldiers and members of the Women’s Auxiliary Services and at the service, conducted by the Vicar, the Revd H G Gardener Brown BD only a few seats were available for members of the public. Apart from this small number the church was filled with khaki from end to end.

From the Market Rasen Mail of 11 November 1939  


Troops editorial    The Market Rasen Mail could not, of course, say much about troops in the town but this editorial refers clearly to cavalry being based in Market Rasen. The irony of this editorial is that the troops referred to were those of the Yorkshire Hussars.

At the start of the war they formed part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. This cavalry division soon converted to armour and became the 10th Armoured Division so the Yorkshire Hussars gave up their horses to start tank training as part of the 9th Armoured Brigade.